Executive Director via Idealist

Sierra Club Foundation

Oakland, CA, US

Mission and Goals: The Sierra Club Foundation promotes efforts to educate and empower people to protect and improve the natural and human environment. The Foundation Board of Directors established the following goals to guide the Foundation’s work:

  • Solve the climate crisis primarily through the a successful transition to a resource-efficient, clean energy economy that better serves people and nature;
  • Secure protections for public lands and waters, promote healthy ecosystems and communities, and fight for clean air and water;
  • Expand opportunities for more people to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet by supporting programs and policies that reach across economic, cultural, and community lines to get people outdoors; and
  • Build a diverse, inclusive environmental movement that reflects and represents today’s American public; and prioritizes important connections between environmental health and social justice.

Position Summary: The Executive Director is the primary advocate for the mission, goals, and programs of the Foundation and has lead responsibility for its efficient and compliant management and operations. The Executive Director works in concert with the Foundation Board of Directors, Foundation staff, and senior Sierra Club staff and volunteers to represent the Sierra Club Foundation and its programs to donors, foundations, and the public and to help raise the necessary charitable funds to carry out its priority initiatives. The Executive Director is the principal spokesperson for the Sierra Club Foundation among key external constituencies including the philanthropic community, investment community, corporations, and the media.

Reports To: The Board of Directors of the Sierra Club Foundation

Supervises: Sierra Club Foundation staff, including three direct reports: Chief Financial Officer, Grants and Compliance Director, Manager of Administration and Board Relations

Scope / Job Responsibilities:

  • Organizational leadership/management
    • Oversees development of annual organizational goals and tracks progress;
    • Responsible for the management of the Foundation’s daily operations and activities;
    • Provides direction for the day-to-day activities of Foundation staff, maintains high staff morale and nurtures a sense of purpose and teamwork among staff members;
    • Directly supervises the Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer, the Grants and Compliance Director, and the Manager of Administration and Board Relations;
    • Ensures strong sense of cooperation between staff and the Board of Directors and Board Committees.
  • Sierra Club Relations
    • Maintains strong collaboration and a healthy working relationship with Sierra Club representatives, both staff and volunteer;
    • Oversees Foundation input into Sierra Club’s strategic planning and charitable campaigns;
    • At the Club’s invitation, serves as a member of the Sierra Club’s Senior Management Group.
  • Fundraising
    • Serves as the principal fundraiser for the Foundation, working in partnership with Sierra Club program directors and Advancement staff;
    • Prioritizes raising funds that allow maximum flexibility including core unrestricted support and broadly restricted program support;
    • Facilitates the major gift fundraising efforts of the Board of Directors and ensures strong collaboration between Directors and regional Advancement staff;
    • Ensures fulfillment of the cost sharing agreement (fundraising agreement) between the Sierra Club Foundation and Sierra Club;
    • Provides leadership for the Foundation’s Fundraising Committee, the Sierra Club’s National Advancement Council, and the Summit Circle, a nationwide network of major supporters;
    • Serves as primary steward of donor relations for the Foundation’s Donor Advised Fund donors and advisors.
  • Public representation
    • Builds the reputation and brand of the Foundation with donors, foundations, corporations, the media and, when appropriate, public officials and agencies;
    • Joins with other charities and foundations to influence the outcome of any major government or regulatory decisions that might impact the Sierra Club Foundation.
  • Board development
    • Partners with the Board Governance Committee to recruit new Directors to the Board and manage ongoing Board member engagement. Oversees training and orientation of Directors;
    • Provides leadership to assure the effectiveness of all Committees and task forces established by the Board of Directors.
  • Asset and investment management
    • Ensures the safe and secure management and investment of the Foundation’s assets, consistent with the values and mission of the Sierra Club Foundation;
    • Expands on recent work to establish the Foundation as a leader among the philanthropic community in mission-aligned investing.
  • Regulatory/legal oversight and risk management
    • Assures that the Foundation meets the fiduciary obligations as established by the Foundation’s governing documents, the Board of Directors, and as directed by the law.
    • Ensures that the Foundation meets all grant control requirements to which a public charity is subject, including those governing review and authorization of the Foundation’s grants and fiscal sponsorship relationship with the Sierra Club.
    • Oversees compliance with, and performance of, all Foundation contracts, including the cost sharing agreement(s) and other contracts with the Sierra Club.
    • Ensures complete and accurate reporting to regulatory and professional agencies including the Internal Revenue Service, the California Attorney General, and others, as required.
    • Remains alert to the Foundation’s external environment in order to inform the Board of Directors regarding trends and changes in the regulatory and risk environment that may adversely impact the Foundation’s activities.

Knowledge & Skills:

  • Prior management or board level experience with a 501 (C)(3) organization that includes responsibility for major gift fundraising and donor cultivation, board development/relations, fiscal sponsorship and grant-making, financial management, and organizational planning and development.
  • Proven effectiveness in major gift fundraising, donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability, prior experience and skill in the development and facilitation of non-profit boards.
  • Strong collaboration skills, works well on staff teams and with volunteers across organizations.
  • Highly organized, entrepreneurial, and self-motivated.
  • Working knowledge of environmental field, major conservation issues and the role, programs and position of Sierra Club in the broader movement.
  • Demonstrated personal commitment to the cause of the preservation and protection of the environment in ways that engender the confidence of donors, volunteers and staff, and support the charitable efforts of the Foundation’s primary grantee, Sierra Club.
  • Prior work experience that includes responsibility for the financial management of an entity or a large program. Appropriate knowledge of finance, budgeting, and general accounting principles.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written. Demonstrated ability and effectiveness in communicating ideas and information.
  • Minimum of five years of staff supervisory experience.
  • Knowledge of non-profit tax laws, reporting requirements, and regulations related to charitable gifts, trusts, estates and grants, and the operation of a public charity.